Mad About Macarons, Wimbledon and Wild Strawberries

Last year, when I finally plucked up the courage to weed our jungle at the bottom of the garden, a few plants with these familiar tiny white flowers were also weeded.  This was too cool: we’d been given a lovely present from the local birds! The more I looked, the more I found.  We had tons of them: wild strawberries or fraises des bois.

My first reaction was to dig them up and replant them into containers; well, there are plenty of cats and murky things in the night! They have lasted well throughout a tough winter and these tiny bright jewels continue to spring, hidden beautifully underneath their protective leaves. This container is filled with mint, which ended up being a good companion.

It’s incredible how the birds don’t even touch them: my biggest thieving magpie is my youngest daughter who gets in there before I can make something out of them.  She doesn’t even like strawberries! Fraises des bois are seen more as forbidden sweets and no wonder: their taste is like the most concentrated strawberry you can find, mixed with a sensation of violets (remember the parma violet sweets?) in one miniscule, ephemeral bite.

When the thieving magpies were away for the weekend, I treated myself to a summery salad of Cherry Tomatoes, Strawberries and Rocket. The flavours of the fruits, peppery rocket and globe spice basil make this a real summer treat, giving an extra toast to the birdies with a glass of chilled rosé.

Tomatoes and strawberries together are intriguing; let’s face it – they’re both fruits, so why not with a touch of balsamic and rocket for some peppery spice? Using some mara des bois strawberries that were slightly on the acidic side, a few fraises des bois from the garden were delicately added at the end for a simple yet decadent taste of summer.

Then after this week’s temperatures soared in and around Paris, it was time to chill out with something light and refreshing for dessert: an express millefeuille with peppermint pastry cream, redcurrants and wild strawberries (part of the egg yolk recipe series).  It was also a fitting combination with the Wimbledon tennis finals this weekend.

How could I not finish up with a few macarons?  I was going to delete that last phrase but do you realise how French that is?  They adore double negatives like “it’s not that I wasn’t going to add this at the end”; it has oozed into my franglais, so to speak. Et voilà: fraises des bois and mint macarons from le jardin, mes amis.

wild strawberry and mint macarons

I’m so behind on le Blog at the moment and have missed posting this for the MacTweet Fruity Challenge for June. Ah well.  Enjoy anyway!

Wishing you all a lovely summery week and Happy 4th July to all our American friends!

P.S. Just as I had this ready for today’s weekly blog, David Lebovitz had also posted his latest on Friday with Fraises des bois. I adore his blog and my first reaction was therefore to toss this. Then on second thoughts, this is different. Don’t forget that I’m a frugal Scot!

43 replies
  1. BigFatBaker
    BigFatBaker says:

    Beautiful! And I am so jealous of your wild strawberries. I can’t imagine how wonderful they must taste. The strawberry and mint macs sound soo good….yum.

    Reply
  2. Chris's Gourmet Fashion
    Chris's Gourmet Fashion says:

    You’re so lucky that the wildlife leaves your wild strawberries untouched. We planted some a few years ago and they propagated themselves for about three years – we got too eat quite a few of the strawberries but then we are not sure what ate the entire plants. As usual your macaroons look lovely too!

    Reply
  3. Magic of Spice
    Magic of Spice says:

    I see so many wonderful treats with strawberries all summer, but sadly I am allergic 🙁
    Everything looks delightful here! So fun that they are wild treats 🙂
    Hope you had a great weekend…

    Reply
  4. purabi naha
    purabi naha says:

    Jill, wild strawberries are really something I’d love to play around in my kitchen. Love your suggestion on combining tomatoes and strawberries. Jill, you are amazing! Now, I am really mad about your macarons! Such a variety!!

    Reply
  5. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite
    Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite says:

    Jill these are absolutely adorable macarons and I am loving the combo of tomatoes and strawberries in salads right now – so many possibilities. And I am TOTALLY in love with mint and strawbs – especially fraises des bois 🙂 I hope I get to meet you during my time here!

    Reply
  6. Brandie
    Brandie says:

    I have not had a wild strawberry in AGES. My Mom’s friend used to own a piece of land that she would let us forage for them. Oh, I remember the taste of them so well! I’m jealous of yours!

    Reply
  7. Claudia
    Claudia says:

    The Minnesota strawberries are in and I am a greedy little gus with those tiny delectables. All looks so grand – don’t you just love “volunteers?” I am always excited to see something pop up in my garden that is unplanted and not a weed! Your macarons are always so special. I’m going to play with the rocket (we call it arugula) and strawberries!

    Reply
  8. Karen (Back Road Journal)
    Karen (Back Road Journal) says:

    I am so delighted to have found your blog. We have wild strawberries and blueberries at our summer cottage in Maine. I’m sorry to say that the small chipmunks eat every berry before I can get to them. I have had the lovely little strawberries while traveling in France and they were wonderful.

    Reply
  9. Foodness Gracious
    Foodness Gracious says:

    I’m in awe of your amazing blog and how you continually make it expel the wow factor!! I really need to try making macarons again. After a failed attempt I need to get back on that horse and seize the ron’…

    Reply
  10. Choclette
    Choclette says:

    No no, don’t delete your lovely posts – any of them. Just think, you are on the same wavelength as DL, that’s got to be a good thing. Wild strawberries do taste so good – we’ve a few at the end of our garden too, though never enough to do anything with. Why don’t the birds eat them I wonder? they ate all the cultivated ones we grew in a tub. Your macarons look wonderful as always, especially nestled in amongst the strawberry leaves.

    Reply
  11. Sue
    Sue says:

    Yummy! My tastebuds have been tickled by the thought of these lovely wild strawberries and all the wonderful things you have made with them. I would never have thought of strawberries and tomatoes together, or of strawberries and mint. I’ve been feeding my 2 little plants with ‘Miracle gro’ today, so far I’ve only had 3 strawberries and will definitely need miracles with these plants if I’m going to try these recipes!

    Reply
  12. Roxana GreenGirl
    Roxana GreenGirl says:

    I’m probably between the few left that rarely read David Lebovitz. i’m so happy you didn’t delete this post. This way I found out all those wild mini strawberries I have in my back yard are edible. I usually pick a couple and play with Tiffany.

    Thanks Jill.

    Reply
  13. HF
    HF says:

    Oh my gosh! 0_0 Thank you for posting this. I’ve always wanted to try fraises des bois and your desert looks so yummy! I have no way of getting them and my taste buds are quite jealous right now. haha

    Reply
  14. Emily @ Life on Food
    Emily @ Life on Food says:

    I love native strawberries too. They have a very intense flavor that you just cannot beat. Your salad dish looks delicious.

    Foodbuzz does seem to be having some issues today. Maybe it is still on vacation from the weekend!

    Reply
  15. Liz
    Liz says:

    I’m so glad you didn’t toss this delicious post, Jill! Three gorgeous dishes to drool over 🙂

    PS…my MaM cookbook arrived last week! Hooray! We’re off on holiday starting Friday, so I won’t have time to age my whites, but hope to post my first macarons later this month! I CAN’T wait!!! xo

    Reply
  16. Thomasina
    Thomasina says:

    I think wild strawberries are yummy – just like the blog. I live near a strawberry farm and picking the first strawberry of the season in the sun is my idea of heaven. Thanks Jill for great ideas on what to do with them. Must try marrying strawbs with tomatoes.

    Reply
  17. Manu
    Manu says:

    I hadn’t seen wild strawberries in years! I used to eat a lot of them as a child! They taste amazing! Great macaron idea!!! And I also love that salad!!! Hope your back is better! <3

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Thanks, Manu. Back not much better and after infiltration treatment, now have severe headaches. So limited computer time and so behind in catching up on everyone’s blogs. I promise to catch up soon. Well done on that swordfish post, btw!

      Reply
  18. The Harried Cook
    The Harried Cook says:

    You are so blessed to have these little gems in your garden! My daughter would go wild about these… And all the stuff you’ve made with them.. wow! Gorgeous! Can’t wait for the mille feuille recipe! 🙂 And oh those macarons! The colors are so incredible in that last picture… Amazing! Thank you for a beautiful post!

    Reply
  19. Anne
    Anne says:

    Jill…the salad looks heavenly. I don’t even blink a lash at the thought of pairing strawberries and tomatoes…both so scrumptious with a little balsamic! The macarons always intrigue me! What a creative picture of them. You always take us on your excursions away. One day…I would love it if you would give us a blogging tour of your garden! Mine is considerably smaller this year. You have thieving magpies. I have brazen bunnies! : )

    Reply
  20. Joanna from Chic & Gorgeous Treats
    Joanna from Chic & Gorgeous Treats says:

    Strawberries.. strawberries and more strawberries! Gosh my hearts stops beating whenever I get a handfull of strawberries. They are one of my favourite fruit and somehow I tend to be drawn to recipes made with them. The mille feuille sounds delish. Light and summery. Oh! not forgetting your famous macarons. I can’t wait to try my hands on making them. Cheers, Jo

    Link: http://chicgorgeous.blogspot.com

    Reply
  21. Chef Dennis
    Chef Dennis says:

    those strawberries are so good, I never knew how prized our wild strawberries were but I certainly no how delicious they are, sadly I don’t see them where I live now, but I do remember my younger days gorging on them and the wild blackberries! Those macaroons are such a fitting tribute to those berries!

    Reply
  22. Pauline
    Pauline says:

    Lucky you had enough of the little ones left for your macarons, they seem to disappear fast here as we like their sometimes tart taste. I like the look that I might pick a macaron instead 🙂

    Reply
  23. Hester Casey - Alchemy
    Hester Casey - Alchemy says:

    What a find, Jill! You have really made the most of this rare treat. You are amazing, producing not 1 but 3 beautiful dishes. I love the use of the strawberries in salad – must try that! – and the gorgeous mille feuille and of course, the trade mark macarons. Your ‘thieving magpies’ must be delighted they left some for mum to transform into something even more wonderful.

    Reply
  24. The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time
    The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time says:

    Well, I don’t read David Lebovitz but I do read you so I’m very glad you didn’t toss this! I’m not even sure where to start! I have wild strawberries all over my yard, but they taste very bland so I don’t bother with them. It must be something about French wild strawberries, no? The mille feuille with mint crème pâtissière is gorgeous (I love anything with a puddingy filling). And that last picture with the beautiful macarons nestled in their originating strawberry plants; wow. Happy Independence Day, Jill! In 10 days I’ll be wishing you another; we’ll just be swapping celebration locations.

    Reply
  25. shaz
    shaz says:

    SOo glad you didn’t toss this. Great post! I adore those beautiful alpine strawberries (which is what we call them here). Tried growing some as ground cover, except the thieving possum kept attacking it. The strawberry plants are now netted and I’m waiting for spring with fingers crossed. Your macarons are so beautiful, so shiny and smooth.

    Reply
  26. Tiffany
    Tiffany says:

    I’ve never had a wild strawberry, but your description makes them sound like heaven on earth! Paired with spicy rocket! Oh my word! I really wish we could get them… yet ANOTHER reason I should take the plunge and fulfill my dream of living in France! 😀

    Reply
  27. Parsley Sage
    Parsley Sage says:

    Lucky girl! Those strawberries sound so tasty 🙂 And to have them right there and pickable…no wonder you salad, pastried and macaron’d them! Well done

    Reply

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